10 facts and insights about microplastics and pollution

The International Union for Conservation of Nature defines primary microplastics as being plastics released into the environment in the form of small particulates, but not necessarily plastics manufactured to be microplastics. This definition of microplastics includes plastic fragments and fibers resulting from the abrasion of large plastic objects during manufacturing, use or maintenance.

You can read the following 10 facts and insights about microplastics in this article.

  1. The amount of plastic that enters the ocean every year exceeds 10 million tonnes, and approximately 1 million tonnes of this is classified as “primary microplastics”. The global release of microplastics into the ocean is estimated to be between 0.8 and 2.5 million tonnes per year, filling roughly 66,000-200,000 average-sized refuse collection trucks.

  2. The main sources of primary microplastics include vehicle tires, synthetic textiles, paints, and personal care products. Plastics that enter the environment macro-sized but later degrade into micro-sized particles are called ‘secondary’ microplastics and constitute a substantial portion of microplastic pollution.

  3. Microplastics pose an environmental hazard because their ingestion by marine organisms has been shown to negatively impact their growth, development, and reproduction. This can, in turn, result in negative outcomes for human health. In 2017, the annual production of plastic products was 348 million tonnes worldwide. This is expected to increase to 33 billion tonnes by 2050.

  4. Plastics are primarily broken down in the environment by abiotic factors, including UV radiation, temperature, and abrasion, which may take hundreds of years to decompose. Moreover, plastic pollution is expected to increase dramatically without significant intervention due to continued population growth and rising per capita plastic use.

  5. Microplastics pose an environmental hazard in their capacity to serve as a dispersal mechanism for invasive species and pathogens and because they are often mistaken by marine and terrestrial organisms as food. Some species, including crabs and mussels, can take up microplastics from the environment through their gills.

  6. Microplastics pose a potential hazard to human health primarily through dietary exposure, resulting predominantly from the ingestion of contaminated shellfish and fish but also from some canned foods, honey, sugar, table salt, root crops, leaf crops, meat, and beverages, including milk, drinking water, and beer.

  7. The issue of microplastic pollution is a growing concern among many consumers worldwide. Microplastic uptake by seafood in aquacultures may reduce their availability for human consumption. For example, tourists aware of the health concerns regarding microplastic exposure may avoid engaging in water-based recreational activities or consume local seafood from coastal regions where microplastic pollution is a problem.

  8. A single garment can produce more than 1900 fibers per wash. The full release of microfibres while washing an average load of laundry is calculated to be between 3.2 and 17 million fibers or approximately 0.5-1.3 grams. Multiplying this figure by the total estimated loads of laundry in the EU gives an estimated production of 18,430 and 46,175 tonnes of microfibres per year in the EU alone.

  9. Microplastics in personal care products make up a relatively small but well-recognized facet of microplastic pollution in the form of microbeads in various rinse-off personal care products such as exfoliants. Several countries have legislated bans against manufacturing and using plastic microbeads in personal care products.

  10. Certain microplastics (for example, city dust) can also be transported via wind. In urban areas, the deposition of plastic fibers has been recorded to reach 355 particles/m2/day.90 The possibility of airborne transfer highlights the potential for microplastics to travel long distances and contaminate the air we breathe and the foods and beverages we consume.

In conclusion, microplastic pollution is a pressing issue that affects our planet in numerous ways. From contaminating our oceans and harming marine life to entering our food chain and potentially impacting our health, microplastics are a cause for concern.

It is important to address this problem by reducing our human use of plastic products, properly disposing of plastic waste, and implementing regulations to limit the release of microplastics into the environment. Only by working together and taking action can we mitigate the harmful effects of microplastics and preserve the health of our planet for future generations.



10 reasons why hemp is a better material than cotton and polyester

Regarding sustainability, regeneration and climate awareness, hemp is seen as a better option for production than cotton and polyester, even to organic cotton and recycled polyester. Here are the 10 following reasons why that is the case.

Coal, gas and oil 

Polyester production demands the use of crude oil, also used as car fuel. Processing polyester in certain parts of the world as in Asia is often based on the usage of coal during the chemical methods. The production itself is also resulting in gas emissions and contribution to pollution. Even the production of cotton products is often demanding the usage of different fuels and other chemicals. Hemp is not only free from fossil fuel usage but also contributes to planetary regeneration and better air quality.

Water resources 

According to different studies, it takes around 10 000 – 20 0000 liters of water to produce 1 kg of cotton. Globally, around 200-300 billion tonnes liter of water is used per year for producing cotton products. Polyester, on the other hand, is produced using much less water per kg than cotton. However, factories that produce polyester also release dangerous substances such as antimony, cobalt, sodium bromide and titanium dioxide into waterways as runoff from the production process. Hemp only uses one-third of cotton’s water and still produces more climate-efficient results.

Pesticides and herbicides 

Production of cotton often demands, mainly regarding non-organic cotton, the use of different chemical substances as pesticides to protect from insects. Pesticides and similar substances have a bad impact on nature and the environment, since pesticides and chemicals in cotton production don’t just pollute waterways, but also soil. Degradation of soil results in less fertile and more toxic land leading to losses of forest, natural habitat, and productive farmland. For example, in India, around half of all pesticides are used in cotton production. Hemp production does not need pesticides, plus hemp contributes to healthier soil and regenerative agriculture.

CO2 emissions 

According to different studies, cotton production emits 220 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually while polyester is not much better since its production requires an enormous amount of energy to produce, with around 125 MJ of energy used for every 1kg of polyester produced. The carbon emissions alone have significant environmental impacts on ecosystems and wildlife. Hemp is a “carbon-negative” and carbon-reducing plant. As some  researchers suggest, each ton of hemp grown can remove around 1.63 tons of CO2 from our atmosphere.


Unlike hemp fibers that totally biodegrade naturally, polyester can take up to 200 years to decompose. Polyester fibers also result in tiny pieces of plastic called microfibers, and with just one wash, polyester releases thousands of plastic microfibers into the water supply. Microplastics account for 31% of the plastic pollution in our oceans and cause significant harm to marine life since when it is thrown out, it ends up in a landfill where it can remain for hundreds of years. Even cotton-based products take a longer time to biodegrade than hemp ones.


Due to the structure of the plant, hemp requires far less land to produce crops than cotton. The hemp growing process is also faster, meaning that hemp farmers can grow larger amounts of hemp than cotton on the same land without depleting the soil. While the environmental impacts of cotton and polyester production come at a significant human cost. The devastation cotton production wrecks on the environment significantly impact farmers, often in developing areas as the case of groundwater pollution results in poor health for many locals who live near cotton farms.

Social impacts 

Currently, there are more than 20 000 products made of hemp and the overall social impact is larger and better when compared to cotton and polyester. Hemp can be used as fabric for clothing, sheets, and furniture while hemp oil and hemp seeds are often used medicinally and in beauty and cosmetic products. The many uses of hemp bring great market value to the crop and allow more industries to employ more people. Hemp has outstanding antibacterial properties that surpass cotton and any other natural fiber. This is due to its natural richness in terpenes and cannabinoids. Consequently, hemp fabric is also extremely resistant to mold, mildew and fungi.

Labour and humans 

Cotton and polyester production is often associated with problematic, devastating and humiliating standards for labour and workers’ rights. Laborers often work under poor conditions in developing countries with little regard for health and safety precautions. Especially when it comes to cotton production, there are still and have been many cases of child labour such as in Uzbekistan. Hemp is more often associated with fair production, good working conditions and community-organized work based on democratic principles and harmony with nature.


Hemp is one of the strongest and most durable of all-natural textile fibers with better resistance against UV light, mold, and mildew. Hemp produces 250% more fiber than cotton and 600% more fiber than for example, flax on the same land. Hemp also has the highest yield per acre of any natural fiber. Additional hemp processing can include flattening the yarns with pressure to enhance natural luster, wet spinning, and using other treatments like softeners, wrinkle-resistors, dyes, bleaching and other finishes.


Hemp is better than polyester, but also when compared to cotton and even to organic cotton regarding ecological impact, sustainability and regenerative features. Polyester, especially recycled polyester, is more “eco-friendly” than regular plastics but still depends on the usage of crude oil and even coal for its production. Thereby, hemp is much better for sustainable production and consumption. Hemp is as a safe card for everyone who wants to avoid greenwashing behaviors and scandals.

You have now read 10 general categories informing why hemp is a better, greener and healthier alternative when compared to polyester and cotton. You can use the following presentation regarding facts and stats for more information.

Johner Bildbyra AB
+46 8 644 83 30

Flag of Earth by Oskar Pernefeldt

The International Flag of Planet Earth

Imagine a situation where humans are representing Earth at a meeting somewhere in a galaxy. What would a flag of Earth look like? There are many alternatives since a number of Earth flags have been made over the last two hundred years. One of the most famous flags is the International Flag of Planet Earth, designed by Oskar Pernefeldt. 


The flag of Earth was designed in 2015 during a time when our world was experiencing many problems and challenges such as climate, refugees, and poverty. One of Pernefeldt’s approaches is that symbols can create a powerful shift of perspective that can impact human behavior, where the flag is a symbol for Earth and an important reminder that we share this planet. 


Another of Pernefeldt’s ideas was that even Earth would need to be represented at some point in the future. According to the International Flag of Planet Earth Organisation (IFOPE-O), a foundation he initiated,  the flag will remind people of the message it represents as regarding social, cultural, environmental, and economic aspects.


When it comes to symbolism, Pernefledt’s view is that many  people don’t feel an emotional connection to their home country, but they can still see themselves as global citizens. In situations like that, the flag can make a difference and provide support in daily life. For example, the white circles represent the continents and the connectivity between humans. 




It remains to see when and where the flag will be used to symbolize and represent Earth in space, for example, on a public or private space mission to Mars. The flag is also very similar to the Earth Flag, and people are often mixing up the flags. Anyway, despite certain design differences, the International Flag of Planet Earth and the Earth Flag are based on the same values, ambitions, and ideas of uniting our humanity and contributing to a sustainable and peaceful planet.


This International Flag of Planet Earth is now also available in the EarthFlag Store on this page and is soon available made of hemp.


Emerging Peace Flag

White Blue White Flag

 Since the start of the Russian invasion and occupation war against Ukraine in late February, a new type of flag has emerged. The flag has been created based on the
Russian Federation flag is known as the “Russian peace flag”, “Stop the war flag”,  
beautiful Russia of the future”, “peace and freedom flag”. The new flag has partly been created as an alternative to the current Russian flag and partly made as an anti-war symbol.  

Photo via Wikimedia Commons - White Blue White flag being held in Toronto, Canada.

The information about the Russian peace flag is still very limited and recent. The flag has been shown for the first time at the beginning of March mainly outside of Russia as in European cities such as Berlin, Amsterdam, and London. 


Photo via Wikimedia Commons – White Blue White flag during a demonstration in Tbilisi, capital of Georgia 


According to the Russian and English speaking portal Meduza, which presents itself as a part of the Russian democratic opposition to the authoritarian regime, the flag has been created by several individuals and networks engaged in art, culture, and democracy. One of the creators of the flag is Berlin-based user experience (UX) designer Kai Katonina. 


Based on an interview with her, the red color of the Russian flag is representing blood and violence.  According to her, different versions of the flag are being made around the world and that is ok since it is hard to demand from everyone to make only one version. Also, it is about showing that many Russians are against the war, dictatorship, and corruption of the current Russian regime. 


 The White Blue White flag is brought to the world by


Similar to the White Blue White Flag, the Earth Flag was also made with blue and white colors to promote peace, planetary solidarity, and unity. Because to solve common problems and challenges such as regarding climate change, wars, and pollution, our humanity needs more cooperation in order to shape a better future for all humans and other living beings. To represent peace with a symbol that represents the Earth and all life on it, you can get a flag here.


The first flag on the Moon – the University of Bern and symbol of Switzerland

Photo via Feedloader (Clickability) 

In 1969, a group of American astronauts landed on Moon. This was the first time humans came to the Moon and started exploring it. The historically famous Moon landing is, among other things, famous for the photo of astronaut Buzz Aldrin showing the American flag. What is less known is that the astronauts raised another object with a flag before the American flag was raised.  

How is this the case? Well, the astronauts were on the Moon also in order to conduct scientific experiments. One of their assignments was to place equipment necessary to analyze the official name of the Solar Wind Composition Experiment (SWC).  As the biggest star in our Milky Way Galaxy, Sun has its flux of charged particles, called the ‘solar wind’, reminding of fire sparks. 

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The SWC experiment was the first measurement of the solar wind’s noble gases composition on the Moon. The aim was to measure and sample the solar wind outside the Earth’s magnetosphere

Academics made the SWC instrument at the University of Bern under the supervision of Johannes Geiss, one of the contemporary world-leading physicists. The SWC experiment was one of the few to be made on every lunar landing mission,  and it was the only non-USA-made experiment to be part of the Apollo landings. 

Screenshot via Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. 

The SWC instrument consisted of an aluminum foil sheet, 1.4 m by 0.3 m, fixed to a pole facing the Sun. Before the mission, Professor Geiss managed to convince NASA to deploy the SWC instrument before unfurling the US flag. This was not done for symbolic reasons but in order to maximize the foil’s exposure time and contribute to better analysis.  

Screenshot via

On Apollo 11, the foil was exposed to the Sun for 77 minutes, allowing solar wind particles to lodge themselves. The foil was subsequently sent to Earth for analysis in a laboratory. This allowed for a more precise determination of the chemical makeup of the implanted particles than would be achievable if assessed remotely.

Before launch, someone from the Swiss psychists team suggested attaching a Swiss flag inside the roll of foil, so that it would be the first flag placed by a man on the Moon! Thereby, the first man-made identity symbols on the Moon consisted of the Swiss flag and the University of Bern. Afterward, this experiment came also to be called the “Swiss flag experiment”. 

Among other findings of the Apollo 11 mission was that the later analysis concluded that Moon formed hot, that it was magmatically active for at least 800 million years, and that the surface-blanket of dusty rubble contains a treasure trove of evidence of how the Moon formed.

One of the Earth Flag Foundation’s missions in space and our galaxy is to ensure that the Earth Flag is utilized during space missions and travel. Now that space travel has grown more popular and common through private and crowdfunded initiatives, this is easier to do now. Hopefully, this will be able to achieve at some time in the 2020s, with the aid of our readers and community members. The Earth Flag will be used on upcoming research missions and space travel as a result of this.







Short history of the Ecology Flag

Photo via Wikimedia Commons 

During the 1960s and 1970s, as the environmentalist movement was developing in the USA, different individuals and organizations made several “ecology flags”. One of the contemporary flags that became more famous and is still used today is the “Ecology Flag”. 

A flag for the environment 

The Ecology Flag was based on the American flag due to the stripes in white and green. These colors, among other things, symbolize life and ecology. 

Ecology Flag used at Earth Day manifestation in 2017 in the USA. Photo via Wikimedia Commons. 

The flag also has a letter Θ or “theta” from the Greek alphabet that in old Greek was used as an abbreviation for “thanatos” meaning death. In the case of the Ecology Flag, it was also about making a symbolic message that humans cannot live on a dead planet. 

The first version of the flag was made during the late 1960s. However, the last and current version was made by political cartoonist Rob Cobb who added Θ to the flag. Thereby, Cobb became the creator of the Ecology Flag by publishing its image and an article about it in the Los Angeles Free Press newspaper in 1969.

Cobb’s intention was partly to combine letters e from the environment and o from organism by merging e and o into Θ, and partly to highlight the human threats to the environment and atmosphere of the Earth. 

The first demonstrations and protests

Screenshot Smithsonian Magazine. 

One of the first examples of usage of the flag was done by academic Betsy Boze, who in 1970 was an environmental activist. Boze used Cobb’s image and made an Ecology Flag by herself and used it in demonstrations for environmental care and against pollution. 

Another example is a biology teacher called Raymond Bruzan, who in 1970 at Lanphier High School in Springfield, Illinois, turned his classroom into the “Environmental Action Center”. He wanted together with his students to debate what they could do to protest the nation’s polluted air and water on the first Earth Day, April 22.

After discussions, Buzan and around 60-70 students decided to stage a symbolic and mock funeral procession for “the dead Earth ” due to environmental pollution. They marched to the Illinois State Capitol (parliament assembly), where they would present the lieutenant governor with anti-pollution petitions signed by more than 1,000 people.

Modern usage for modern environmentalism

Screenshot via Berkshire Community College. 

One of the latest examples of usage of the Ecology Flag is from the Earth Day celebration at the Berkshire Community College in the state of Massachusetts.

The flag has since March 2017 been flying at half-staff as a symbol of the “forceful and unprecedented assault on the environment”. During Earth Day, it was raised completely while staff and students highlighted the college’s recycling accomplishments and the involvement in the Campus Waste to Zero Waste project. 

When it comes to Earth Day and its importance or global environmental awareness, the Earth Flag can also be described as an ecology flag since the EarthFlag is based on values such as planetary awareness, sustainability, and cooperation.

Thereby highlighting the importance of climate and environment partly via the blue color symbolizing water and seas and the production of EarthFlag using recycled plastics and hemp. Hemp will be an important part of the future planetary circular economy that we as humanity can co-create and develop together.  

Garry Davis

Garry Davis and the World Flag

Photo via WOUB Public Media

Have you ever heard about Garry Davis? He is famous for being “world citizen number one” since he started the idea of making world citizenship. In his activism for peace, world citizenship, and global democracy Davis also used a world flag that later became a symbol for the world federalist movement and similar organizations. The flag looks like this.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons


A World Flag for a World Government and World Citizens 

The flag came initially to be used by World Service, an organization started by Davis and other world federalists. For Davis and others, World Service was created to function as a public institution, later as a World Citizen Government, for all humans worldwide by issuing World Passports

From what is known, the flag was created during the first half of the 1950s, as in 1953-1954. For example, the following photo of Davis holding the flag outside of the United Nations Building was taken in 1954 by German-based newspaper Passauer Neue Presse. At that time, Davis had already renounced his American citizenship in favor of only having world citizenship. 

As you can see on the flag, it contains the following symbols and words:

  • Circle and globe, as a symbol for Earth, our planet for all humanity
  • The human body, as a symbol of human solidarity, humanism, and humanity across the planet
  • Freedom, peace, and abundance describe ideas and principles that all humans should value, cherish, and believe in co-existing and cooperating as world citizens.

Legacy and engagement 

Until his death in 2013, Davis was active as a peace activist and advocate of world government, democracy, and citizenship. His ideas and legacy have inspired many individuals and movements across the world, such as, for example, Democracy Without Borders global NGO promoting the establishment of a World Parliament. Similarly, the Earth Flag community is engaged for a unified, regenerative, and sustainable planet where all humans can live in peace, harmony, and freedom by creating common institutions. 

There is a long history of individuals and movements making flags in order to create symbols and affections representing the world, humanity, and our planet as a whole. What makes the EarthFlag unique and modern is that its production is based on sustainability and climate-friendly behaviors that are important for the ongoing process of ecological transformation, post-carbon economy, and the future of our world.